Lower Back Pain | What You Need To Know
Lower Back Pain is the most common condition seen in by physiotherapists. It effects up to 80% of people at some stage in their life. When it comes to Back Pain, it is only a matter of time before you experience your first episode. Because the lower back is involved in most of the activities and movements we do on a daily basis, it can be debilitating if not treated correctly. Back pain can become chronic and last months if not years.
Lower Back Anatomy 101
The lower back Is made up of 5 Lumbar vertebrae; intervertebral discs, which sit between the vertebrae and provide shock absorption and cushioning for the joints; ligaments and muscles which help stabilise and move your lower back. Generally speaking, these structures form a strong cohesive unit and typically work well together. However, in some cases these structures can become dysfunctional. This can cause pain and prevent you from doing the thing you love most.
What can cause lower back pain?
Your back is a complex system that works together in unison to support and allow you to move better. Sometimes due to injury we can’t move or even rest as good as we would like. It can affect your sleep, limit your activity and basics like completing house hold chores. Reduced activity, independence, sleep and poor moods can further increase your back pain. Entering you in a viscous cycle of ongoing lower back pain. It is imported you speak to a qualified physiotherapist and get moving, CORRECTLY, as soon as possible. Each structure has its own specific way of being treated. If treated incorrectly, lower back pain can often be made worse.
Structures involved in lower back pain:
- Tight muscles
- Intervertebral discs (disc bulge)
- Facet joints
- Nerve root compression
- Age related changes
- Narrowing of the spinal cord canal
Lower back pain can often be multifactorial, meaning it may have multiple causes. Therefore, back pain is not the same for everyone. It is the Physio’s job to assesses and diagnose what the causes and contributing factors to your lower back pain are. This will allow for specific and optimal treatment planning and advice.
Some contributing factors include but are not limited to:
- Lack of lower limb stability
- previous lower back injury
- Body Mass Index
- Age related factors
- Reduced muscle strength and coordination
What to expect from Physiotherapy
The treatment plan would look into monitoring your overall load or volume each day. Additionally, creating a graded strengthening program prioritising core control and lower limb strengthening and coordination. This will allow for better alignment during activity and a gradual increase resilience to load without overloading and causing a flare-up. Assessing posture, incorporating pain management techniques and continuing with preventative measures once pain settles will further help achieve longer term results.